Muppets from Space

UK/USA 1999

Reviewed by Leslie Felperin


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Unidentifiable creature Gonzo awakes from a dream in which Noah is refusing him access to the ark because there is only one of him. During breakfast at the boarding house Gonzo shares with his other Muppet friends, he finds a message warning him to "watch the skies" spelled out in cereal letters. A bolt of lightning induces a vision in Gonzo of two cosmic fish who explain that he's an alien from another planet and that his relatives will be returning soon to retrieve him.

Miss Piggy, newly made an anchorwoman, interviews Gonzo on television about his alien status. Government agent K. Edgar Singer sees the interview and Gonzo and Rizzo are brought by Singer's minions to their headquarters for tests. Fortunately, Kermit and Piggy come to his rescue. Rizzo also escapes and helps free other laboratory rats. Gonzo and his friends travel to Area 51 to meet the mothership from Gonzo's planet. When it arrives, the reunion is joyous. Gonzo contemplates returning home with the other aliens, but ultimately decides to stay behind with his Muppet friends.


The sixth feature-length film in the Muppet franchise, Muppets from Space may seem misleadingly titled for fans of the original television show who remember Pigs in Space, one of the series' more delicious running spoof skits. Note that central preposition change, because this latest film struggles to get off the ground in every sense. Like its hero Gonzo, abandoned on Earth by his alien brethren, this sweet-natured but unchallenging film seems left behind by the greater sophistication of current children's films and, indeed, by the increasing sophistication of child viewers themselves, who expect flashy effects almost as a birthright .

Now that kids have The Phantom Menace and its digitally-created ilk to keep them entertained, cloth-foam-and-feather puppets are likely to elicit little more than a yawn except from the very young. Gagwise, only a couple of moments in the middle section match the old Muppet gold standard: Rizzo the rat and vermin pals escape their laboratory cage, Shawshank Redemption-style, through a hole in the wall covered by a Mice Girls poster; the operation to remove Gonzo's brain is stalled while the baddies check to see if his HMO will cover the co-pay. Otherwise, Muppets from Space overlabours its parody-cum-homage to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a pretty old target).

With presiding genius Jim Henson now gone, some of the life in the franchise seems to have vanished. Where the series and movies used to pull in pretty big names (Michael Caine, Orson Welles), the human actors here are a sad, B-list lot (Ray Liotta, Andie MacDowell). At least we can be thankful, albeit puzzled, that the film-makers have plumped for a soundtrack of welcome if slightly predictable 70s funk classics instead of the usual ersatz showtunes favoured by children's films.


Tim Hill
Brian Henson
Martin G. Baker
Jerry Juhl
Joseph Mazzarino
Ken Kaufman
Director of Photography
Alan Caso
Michael A. Stevenson
Richard Pearson
Production Designer
Stephen Marsh
Jamshied Sharifi
©Jim Henson Pictures
Production Companies
A Jim Henson Pictures presentation
Columbia Pictures
Executive Producers
Kristine Belson
Stephanie Allain
Timothy M. Bourne
Alex Rockwell
Production Co-ordinator
Ingrid Johanson
Unit Production Managers
Timothy M. Bourne
2nd Unit:
Robert V. Girolami
Location Manager
Louis F. DiFelice
2nd Unit Directors
Kirk Thatcher
Thomas G. Smith
Assistant Directors
Michelle Ziegler
Fredric B. Clark IV
J. David Brightbill
2nd Unit:
Robert V. Girolami
Script Supervisors
Christine Moore
2nd Unit:
Lexie Longstreet
Mike Fenton
Allison Cowitt
Fincannon and Associates
Camera Operators
David J. Frederick
Frank Flynn
2nd Unit:
Eyal Gordin
Producer of Visual Effects
Thomas G. Smith
Visual Effects Editor
Paul M. Wagner
Visual Effects Photography Co-ordinator
Rose Neighbors
Visual Effects
David B. Sharp Productions
David B. Sharp
Wyatt Weed
Richard Cross
Tom Gleason
Alan McFarland
John Chaldu
Derek Prusak
CFC/MVFX Los Angeles
John E. Sasaki
Jonathan F. Styrlund
Mary S. Leitz
Laura Harrigan
Eric W. Weinschenk
Travis Baumann
Matt Dessero
Robert Chapin
John Cassella Jr
Dreamscape Imagery Inc
Marc Weigert
Stacey Weigert
Carolin Grosser
Arturo Aguilar
Rony Soussan
Dan Lopez
Perpetual Motion Pictures
Richard Malzahn
Kimberly Sylvester
René Clark
Special Visual Effects
Syd Dutton
Bill Taylor
Illusion Arts
Kenneth Nakada
Mike Wassel
Kelvin McIlwain
David S. Williams Jr
Fumi Mashimo
Catherine Sudolcan
Richard Patterson
Special Effects
Michael Alan Schorr
Tom Kittle
Chief Model Maker
Eric W. Skipper
Puppeteer Co-captains
Bill Barretta
Jane Gootnick
Muppet Effects Co-ordinator
Tom Newby
Muppet Floor Crew Captain
Scott Johnson
Muppet Floor Production Crew
Mary Brehmer
Matthew Brooks
Isabelle Dufour
Alex L. Ferguson
Ann Marie Holdgruen
Animatronic Design
Jon Gellman
Electronic Control Design
Tim Hawkins
Muppet Workshop New York
Workshop Manager:
Edward G. Christie
Project Supervisor:
Rollie Krewson
Muppet Designers/Builders:
Eric Engelhardt
Henri Ewaskio
Deborah Glassberg
Paul Hartis
Tim Miller
Elena Pellicciaro
Barbara S. Davis
Victoria Ellis
Doug James
Connie Peterson
Triffin Rasmussen
Kay Stuntz
Fabric Dyeing/Painting:
Jason Weber
Electro-Mechanical Effects:
Larry Jameson
Foam/Mold Lab Supervisor:
James Chai
Production Co-ordinator:
Andrew David
Muppet Performer Co-ordinator:
Elizabeth Brescia
Art Director:
William Glenn Davis
Art Director
Alan J. Cassie
Set Designers
Christopher Scott Baker
Helen Williams
Alan Hook
Set Decorator
Marthe Pineau
Costume Designer
Polly Smith
Make-up Supervisor
Cecelia M. Verardi
Hair Supervisor
Betty Lou Skinner
Main/End Titles Design
The Picture Mill
End Titles
Cinema Research Corporation
Howard Anderson Co
Additional Music
Rupert Gregson-Williams
Miyuki Sakamoto
John Bell
Ole Mathisen
Music Supervisors
Ken Kushnick
Cathleen Kushnick
Score Producer
Maggie Rodford
Music Editor
Kim Naves
Music Recordist/Mixer
Nick Wollage
Music Consultant
Michael Baber
"Brick House" by Thomas McClary, Milan Williams, Walter Orange, Lionel Richie, Ronald LaPread, William King, performed by The Commodores; "Celebration" by Ronald Bell, Claydes Smith, George Brown, James Taylor, Robert Mickens, Earl Toon, Dennis Thomas, Robert Bell, Eumir Deodato, performed by the Alien Gonzos; "Dazz" by Ray Ransom, Edward Irons, Reginald Harris, performed by G. Love and Special Sauce; "Flashlight" by George Clinton Jr, Bernard Worrell, Bootsy Collins, by George Clinton and Pepe; "The Gambler" by Don Schlitz; "Getaway" by Peter Cor, Beloyd Taylor, performed by the Getaway People; "Get up offa That Thing" by Deanna Brown, Deidra Brown, Yamma Brown, performed by James Brown; "It's Your Thing" by Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley, O'Kelley Isley, performed by the Isley Brothers; "Outa-Space" by Billy Preston, Joe Greene, performed by Billy Preston; "Shining Star" by Maurice White, Phillip Bailey, Larry Dunn, performed by (1) Earth Wind and Fire, (2) Dust Brothers featuring Jeymes; "Theme from "Star Trek" (TV Series) by Alexander Courage, Gene Roddenberry; "Survival" by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, performed by the O'Jays
Toni Basil
Sound Mixers
Carl S. Rudisill
2nd Unit:
Robert K. Maxfield
Re-recording Mixers
Matthew Iadarola
Gary Gegan
Kevin Burns
Supervising Sound Editor
Sandy Gendler
Dialogue Editors
Scott G.G. Haller
Virginia Cook McGowan
Sound Effects Editors
Steven Ticknor
Kami Asgar
Stephen P. Robinson
Talent Co-ordinator:
Paul Davidson
Dean Drabin
Supervising Editor:
Andrea Horta
George Berndt
Gary Hecker
Michael Broomberg
Richard Duarte
Kris Gendler
Drake Jenevein
Gaston Biraben
'UFO Mania' Promo Sequence
Steven D. Smith
Muppet Performers
Dave Goelz
Gonzo/Bunsen Honeydew/Waldorf/ the Birdman
Steve Whitmire
Kermit the Frog/Rizzo the Rat/Beaker/Cosmic Fish No 1
Bill Barretta
Pepe the Prawn/Bobo as Rentro/Bubba the Rat/Johnny Fiama/ Cosmic Fish No 2
Jerry Nelson
Brian Henson
Dr Phil Van Neuter/ Sal Minella
Kevin Clash
Frank Oz
Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Animal/Sam Eagle
Rickey Boyd
Alice Dinnean
John Henson
Adam Hunt
John Kennedy
Peter Linz
Drew Massey
Ed May
Andy Stone
Kim Allen
Evy Berman
John Boone
Dennis W. Britt
Tyler Bunch
Lisa Consolo
Rowell Gormon
B.J. Guyer
Greg Jarnigan
Rob Killen
Jim Kroupa
Bruce Lanoil
Bob Lynch
Pamella O'Conner
Tim Parati
Thom Stanley
Lisa Sturz
Mark Sutton
Alan Trautman
Jay Tyson
Gregg Wallace
additional performers
Jeffrey Tambor
K. Edgar Singer
F. Murray Abraham
Rob Schneider
TV producer
Josh Charles
Agent Barker
Ray Liotta
gate guard
David Arquette
Dr Tucker
Andie MacDowell
Shelley Snipes
Kathy Griffin
female armed guard
Pat Hingle
General Luft
Hollywood Hogan
[i.e. Hulk Hogan]
man in black
Veronica Alicino
TV stage manager
David Lenthall
Mikey the cameraman
Richard Fullerton
Mark Joy
gate guards
Carl Espy
TV associate producer
Deron Barnett
Christina Mullins
little girl
Elaine Nalee
mashed potato lady
Columbia TriStar Films (UK)
7,927 feet
88 minutes 5 seconds
Colour by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011